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Union of India and Ors. Vs. Dilip Kumar Mallick - (Supreme Court) (05 Apr 2022)

Non-disclosure of material information itself could be a ground for cancellation of employment



The challenge is to the judgment and order in Writ Appeal, whereby the Division Bench of the High Court, in partial disapproval of the order passed by the learned Single Judge of the High Court, interfered with the punishment of removal from service, as awarded to the Respondent; and directed the present Appellants to impose ‘any lesser punishment as deemed just and proper’. The only question for consideration in this appeal is, as to whether the Division Bench of the High Court was justified in interfering with the quantum of punishment awarded to the Respondent?

The cases of non-disclosure of material information and of submitting false information have been treated as being of equal gravity by this Court and it is laid down in no uncertain terms that non-disclosure by itself may be a ground for an employer to cancel the candidature or to terminate services. Information given to the employer by a candidate as to criminal case including the factors of arrest or pendency of the case, whether before or after entering into service, must be true and there should be no suppression or false mention of the required information.

In case of suppression, when the facts later come to the knowledge of employer, different courses of action may be adopted by the employer depending on the nature of fault as also the nature of default; and this Court has indicated that if the case is of trivial nature, like that of shouting slogans at a young age etc., the employer may ignore such suppression of fact or false information depending on the factors as to whether the information, if disclosed, would have rendered incumbent unfit for the post in question. A non-disclosure of material information itself could be a ground for cancellation of employment or termination of services.

The decision of the so-called honourable acquittal was rendered by the Trial Court as late as on 01.05.2008. This leads to the position that the respondent, who entered the employment in CRPF in the year 2003 without disclosing the fact of pendency of criminal case against him, had continued to remain as a pending-trial accused person without the knowledge of the department, until the facts were noticed and he was subjected to departmental proceedings.

In the given set of facts and circumstances, where suppression of relevant information is not a matter of dispute, there cannot be any legal basis for the Court to interfere in the manner that the employer be directed to impose ‘any lesser punishment’, as directed by the Division Bench of the High Court. The submissions seeking to evoke sympathy and calling for leniency cannot lead to any relief in favour of the respondent. The questioned part of the impugned order where the Division Bench interfered with the quantum of punishment, is set aside. Appeal allowed.


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